Kurtley Beale back for Bledisloe Cup squad

·2-min read

Veteran Kurtley Beale's return highlights the Wallabies' 36-man squad set to battle New Zealand as they attempt to claim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

The 33-year-old Beale, a 95-Test backline utility, has been picked for the first time since last year's Spring Tour, finally fit after missing months of action with a calf injury he picked up playing in France's Top 14 competition.

Brumbies lock Cadeyrn Neville is the only other addition to a squad that split its two-game Rugby Championship series with South Africa 1-1, although the side is reeling from a 24-8 thrashing in the last outing in Sydney.

But the Wallabies will have to take on the All Blacks without star lock Rory Arnold, who's unavailable as he awaits the birth of his first child.

It means they'll likely face their trans-Tasman rivals with a similar side to the one that couldn't match it with the Springboks in Sydney, dominated up front as they blew a golden opportunity to jump to the top of the Rugby Championship table.

"Kurtley is a welcome return to the squad after recovering from a long-term injury and will bring his passion for the jersey along with his wealth of experience at Test level," said coach Dave Rennie.

"It's great to be able to keep the core of our group together and welcome Cadeyrn back to the mob, while we wish Rory all the best for what's an incredibly exciting time for him and his family.

"We know how important these next two Tests are with silverware on the line and we'll be expecting a response after the disappointment of last weekend's loss."

The two-Test Bledisloe Cup series kicks off next Thursday at Marvel Stadium.

The Wallabies are second on the Rugby Championship table behind the All Blacks with only these two games left as they seek a first title since 2015.

Wallabies squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Kurtley Beale, Angus Bell, Jock Campbell, Pone Fa'amausili, Folau Fainga'a, Lalakai Foketi, Bernard Foley, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Jed Holloway, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, , Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Cadeyrn Neville, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.